An ICL Anthology: Anecdotes and Recollections from the People of ICL. Edited by Hamish Carmichael.
Hamish Carmichael has had a very happy thought in taking the initiative to collect anecdotes and recollections from the people of ICL, and so to edit and produce this Anthology.
Those of us who were and who still are privileged to work in the most
exciting and significant industry so far created by the human race will recall that our colleagues came together from BTM, Powers Samas, and the computer activities of GEC, EMI, Ferranti, English Electric, LEO, Elliotts, Singer and other companies. The strategy of consolidating all the parts making up ICT was the work of Cecil Mead. The creation of ICL was - I suppose fairly - the desire of Harold Wilson’s government; their chosen method was a combination of stick and carrot, termed by Tony Benn ‘a golden rod’. As I recall, the rod caused some pain and the gold contribution was minuscule. Nevertheless, the combined efforts of all the people overcame the problems with the enthusiasm of pioneers.
ICL is unique in many ways, but there is one outstanding characteristic: its recognising and rewarding - as it always has - long service. More than 15,000 people have served for 21 years or more, and over 360 for more than 42 years. No wonder there are many anecdotes!
The computer business itself is also unique in that only two countries, Britain and the United States, can fairly claim not only to have invented the computer but to have spurred virtually every advance and innovation which the last fifty years have witnessed. The talents of people from all parts of ICL have contributed more to the state of the art than any other single company. ICL people, past and present, can be proud of their achievements, and as they flip through this Anthology their memories will be triggered with more and more recollections, and Hamish is likely to be inundated with more and more material justifying or even demanding further editions of this work. I wish it well. - Arthur Humphreys, November 1995